Using Nuclear Techniques: From Dating the Shroud of Turin and the Ice Man to Detecting Art Forgeries and Studying Stars

Dr. Philippe Collon
Department of Physics
University of Notre Dame


The production and sale of fake artwork represents one of the largest source of crime money after drugs and weapons. As works of art also often represent major investment assets, it is necessary to develop highly sensitive analysis techniques to non-destructively analyze artifacts. This talk will present a number of highly sensitive nuclear techniques that allow us to "probe below the surface" and provide important information in the determination of the authenticity of a masterpiece. In particular the techniques of Proton Induced X-Ray emission (PIXE) and Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) will be highlited.